Friday, 26 December 2008

War is Over if You Want it?


I have posted on this song before, but recently I have been thinking about it's connection to today's latest fad issue. It seems that every generation has its pet causes. At the time John Lennon wrote this song (which I rather like) it was war. Today it is climate change (as it is now called because 'global warming', its previous label, seemed unconvincing in the midst of cold snaps and record snowstorms.)

But the chorus from the song betrays the same human tendency to arrogance that we now see in the whole climate debate -- that is, the feeling that something we do can actually change things significantly, other than wasting a whole pile of money that ends up in someone else's (or some other nation's) pockets.

"War is over... if you want it." War is not over, despite the naive optimism of the '60s. Not that I am defending war. We all would like all war and suffering to be over. But to think that any of our actions will end it is,unfortunately, simplistic at best. As long as the human heart is selfish and human nature self centered, wars will continue in series around the world.

So it is with climate change. We have whole movements indoctrinating whole sections of society, especially our children, into thinking the issue is, for one, much larger than it probably is, and for another, more controllable than it probably is. We have Barack Obama, for instance, calling for more biofuels, while a recent report stated that the amount of corn required to make just one tankful of fuel for one of our cars could feed a third world family for a whole year. In the meantime, the amount of potential food being used for fuel is driving up its price so the poor of the world can no longer afford it.

Not that I am either denying some kind of problem or that we must not aim for some kind of solution. We all must do our best to conserve the planet and its resources and surely we all should do our part. But meanwhile the rich, the high profile and the celebrities leading the bandwagon continue in their profligate lifestyles, buying 'carbon credits' and thinking they are doing anything but assuaging their own consciences so they can continue to be wasteful and pay others to compensate for them.

I have two questions: Has Al Gore moved to a smaller house, one that uses less than twenty times the energy of the average house, and have all those Hollywood stars on the bandwagon turned off the air conditioning in their mansions to conserve power? Once they do that, perhaps I's start believing they are sincere about their pet issue.

Interesting link Here...

Take Care

Responses to Canadian Pragmatist and Anonymous

I tried to respond to the comments on my, 'Bill Maher - Religulous' post, but the comments section would not accept the link to another site, so I will post them here.

Pragmatist, thanks for your thoughtful replies.

You are correct in saying we cannot comprehend the beginning of the universe. But still, we must either explain or imagine how something we might call ‘stuff’ came to be, either from nothing at all, or from some kind of ‘non-stuff.’ However, saying we will never know it, is a bit of a leap of pessimism that cannot with certainty be made.

The plurality of worlds explanation is certainly no less fantastic than the theistic one, and actually compounds the question by requiring how the many universes began as opposed to just the one we know.

The difference with the, ‘god hypothesis’ is that although God cannot be ‘proven’ to the satisfaction of one who will not acknowledge Him, He is ‘knowable’, and has made Himself known to millions of people throughout history in every part of the world. Not acknowledging Him does not disprove Him.

Regarding free will, it is naturalism that truly denies free will. If all our thought processes are merely random pulses of electrical energy, following paths in our brains according to merely natural laws, then how can we explain consciousness and the ability to make free decisions. By what mechanism are we to control these purely natural impulses? Regarding Gods foreknowledge as it impacts our free will, this is a debate to which there seems to be no answer satisfactory to all. In my own opinion, I see foreknowledge as separate from fore-ordainment. God can know what our future decisions will be and still give us the ability to make them. It’s a matter of seeing time panoramically rather than chronologically, if I can put it that way.

Anonymous,
I don’t know if you are the same anonymous that left the comment I deleted from another post. I hadn’t seen anything so clever since junior high, and I say that not wanting to insult anyone in junior high. But perhaps I’m being too generous. Maybe you’re not there yet. If it was not you, I do apologize.

Your point about Christianity being founded on various other mystery religions is itself a well-worn myth, based on ‘research’ completely out-dated/ People propagating such nonsense should be embarrassed. Here is a link that answers most of their arguments.

Pragmatist,
On your second comment, these are the types of objections that I consider secondary because any answer I give will be contingent on my theistic worldview and probably unacceptable a priori to anyone unwilling or unable to comprehend a sovereign God. But, so as not to leave you feeling ignored, here goes.
1. Oral history perhaps?
2. What archaeological evidence would you expect? They did not build stone buildings and tents and clothing do not preserve well.
3. Irrelevant.
4. Not quite sure of your meaning and/or it’s significance.

Take Care

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Halleluiah!


I always love to play Handel's Messiah" on Christmas day. Every word from the entire composition taken exclusively from Scripture, and this is the chorus most familiar to the majority of people. The words are from the following three verses from the book of Revelation.
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. (Revelation 19:6)

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.(Revelation 11:15)

On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.(Revelation 19:16)

Halleluiah! Have a blessed Christmas

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Christmas Sunday at +29 (Celsius)


Greetings from sunny Mazatlan. We went to church here today and sang Christmas carols. I felt odd singing about, "... a cold winter's night that was so deep," in the sweltering heat. This Vineyard Church is in a former bar, and has a number of ministries in the city, including a program of making sandwiches and taking them to the children who scrounge out an existence at the city dump.

More Here...

Sorry to all my friends suffering at -29 or so, but we'll be back home Christmas eve, and I understand it's not going to warm up at all for us.

Take Care

Saturday, 20 December 2008

How Much Knowledge is Necessary?

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

These thoughts occurred to me in connection with the theoretical question, "Can a Jehovah's Witness (or, I suppose, someone in any other religion) be saved?" It is not my intention here to attempt to give a firm answer (as if one could even be given) or even express a firm and final opinion, but merely to raise and discuss some questions on the matter.

My first response to such a question would be, "I don't really pretend to know. God can, I suppose, save anyone He wants." But my thinking was drawn to the verse above in particular.

Now, leaving aside the first part of the verse, about God wanting all men to be saved, and the meaning of which is itself the subject of endless debate, what I wanted to do is to notice the parallel between the two concepts, that of salvation and coming to a knowledge of the truth. Obviously, there is a connection. To be saved somehow involves coming to a knowledge of the truth. More endless debate is possibly here about the "ordo salutis", the order of salvation, but at the very least, God tells us that salvation will involve our realizing certain truths of which we were unaware before our being reborn to this new life. The question is, as I entitled this post, how much knowledge of which truths is enough.

There is enough disagreement on certain matters of the Christian faith in any group of believers to make one wonder. It is not my intent to give an exhaustive list, but one of the areas where there seems to be one of the greatest variety of views, is in eschatology, or end times. Another area, with fewer views, perhaps, but no less firmly held, is in the matter of baptism (not whether baptism is commanded, it is, but in its manner and timing.) Now we are all indwelt and guided by the same Spirit, so how can we differ so greatly in these and other areas. It occurs to me that these areas must not be essential to our salvation, but secondary matters, no matter how passionately we may believe our own position to be correct.

But back to my original theoretical question, can a JW, for instance, be saved? Well, first, I would rephrase the question to be, "Can a person be saved and still retain the beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses?" And my short answer would be, "I don't think so." There are certain fundamentals that are so necessary to our faith that I believe their acceptance is a necessary condition of our salvation.

Again, not to attempt an exhaustive list, but one of these is the divinity of Christ, and consequently, the doctrine of the Trinity. In short, if Christ is not God, we are not saved, for the death of a mere man, or other created being, is insufficient to accomplish our salvation.

Another area a JW would have to change would be to fully accept the concept of salvation by grace through faith and not by our works, because if we think that in any way we can earn God's favour by our own strength or goodness, we diminish Him and place ourselves in some way in a position of equality, if not superiority, to Him.

These are just a couple of areas of my own thoughts on the matter, but in the end, all knowledge of truth comes from God anyway. Some of it He gives at the moment we are saved, and some is a learning process in our Christian growth.. In any case, He will make sure that we know what we need to know.

Take Care

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Why Was Jesus Born Anyway?

My wife and I are leaving for a couple of weeks of holidays -- back Christmas day -- so probably not too much blogging. I intend just to bake in the sun for a while. In the meantime I leave you with this, again from Handel's, "Messiah":
As we look forward to celebrating our Lord's coming, let's reflect on why he came in the first place.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6)

Read More...

Take Care

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Bill Maher - Religulous

You may have heard of Bill Maher and his movie, Religulous. I have not seen the movie -- I'll wait until it comes to free TV. It may sound like a silly principle, but I'll not give Bill my ten bucks, at least not for this piece of work. There is what I suppose is a fairly balanced and honest review of the movie Here...

That having been said, I really like Bill Maher. I wouldn't necessarily recommend him to others because of the language and content of some of his material, but I consider him a clever and highly intelligent comedian.

I have seen clips of the movie, and what I saw was him putting people of faith, mainly Christian, on the spot by trying to defend what he would paint as the "caricatures" of religion, such as the story of Noah's ark. Frankly, if he had asked me about this particular story, my reply would have been, "It doesn't matter." What I mean is this; Christians can be drawn into trying to defend their faith in areas in which the questioner has no desire at all to hear a reasonable answer. Their entire motivation is to make the Christian look silly, or so they think. And too often, I think, they succeed, in the eyes of the world.

So what I would say to him is that it doesn't matter. He is beginning with secondary things, when he should be starting with first things. I would say to him, "Ask me if I believe the first verse in the Bible, 'In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth," And if he asked me that, I would reply, "Good question, Bill. Glad you asked it. Yes I do believe it." Because it makes sense that all we see came from somewhere, and that it came from God makes just as much sense, to a thinking person, as that it just appeared from nowhere. In fact, the more one does think, the more sense it does make.

I saw Maher on Larry King Live, where he is a not infrequent guest, and this point came up. Bill admitted that stuff had to come from somewhere, but he questioned whether the God of religion had to be the source. I remember him saying, "I don't know where it came from, maybe my belly button lint created it all." Now to this I would have to say, "Bill, I've given this a lot of thought, and I really don't think your belly button lint created the heavens and the earth. Because your belly button lint is stuff, and whatever brought the first "stuff" into existence had to be some kind of non-stuff, or else what it created wouldn't have been the first stuff, would it?" Then I'd say, "But don't take this personally, Bill, because I don't believe mine did either."

Then I'd go off on a tangent by posing another of life's great questions, rivalling, in my opinion, the mystery of the origin of the universe itself. It is this: why, no matter what colour of clothes you wear, belly button lint is always the same colour? You can wear the purest white shirt, shorts and pants, but your belly button lint will always be the same dark colour. Why is that? I expect the answer to the origin of the cosmos will be answered before this one.

But again, what Bill meant as humour in his answer to Larry King, illustrates the inevitable failure of atheists to Ask the next question ... and ultimately the failure of atheism to answer it.

Take Care

Friday, 5 December 2008

Judgment - All Roads Lead to the Cross

Doug Wilson refers to C.S. Lewis regarding judgment
In his book on the psalms, C.S. Lewis commented on the difference between the Jewish view of judgment and the Christian view. The Christian, he said, thinks of judgment as a criminal trial with himself in the dock. The Jewish mentality thought of it as a civil proceeding, with himself as the plaintiff. This explains why the Christian instinct is to avert judgment, to seek a solution for it, which of course is ultimately found in the cross. The Jewish instinct is to pray for judgment to come, for God to intervene, and the sooner the better.


Our last Wednesday night's bible study was on the grim little book of Nahum. Pastor Terry noted these points, speaking of Nahum 1:4-10, where God comes across alternately as a God of love and compassion, and a God of wrath, anger and judgment:

This destruction of the wicked is not as black and white as we sometimes make it out to be. We can make equal and opposite errors here:

  • Minimize or deny the wrath of God on the wicked and make a "pink" god of our own imagination
  • Self-righteously call down wrath on all the sinners, "out there" and delight to imagine God wiping out the wicked.

His reference to a "pink" God comes from G.K. Chesterton, speaking of Christianity's ability to keep two seemingly opposite notions held in tension.
It has kept them side by side like two strong colours, red and white, like the red and white upon the shield of St. George. It has always had a healthy hatred of pink. It hates that combination of two colours which is the feeble expedient of the philosophers. It hates that evolution of black into white which is tantamount to a dirty gray. (Orthodoxy)

In this case, I think of the God who has revealed Himself as a God of both judgment and a God of mercy being replaced by a bland and insipid god. A god like the effeminate teacher who threatens discipline but never carries it out.

Justice and mercy. Neither can be compromised. Both are necessary. How can they be reconciled? I have heard it said somewhere that Justice is God giving us what we deserve. Mercy is His not giving us what we deserve. But between these two, separating these two, if you like, as a membrane or a force-field between two incompatible and potentially explosive reactants, is grace. Grace is His giving us what we don't deserve, and that is mercy. Justice, mercy, grace -- God is a God of all three, and all three meet at the cross.

Because judgment, for the Christian believer, has already taken place -- at Calvary. The sentence, a sentence of death, was passed; the penalty was assessed and borne by Christ on behalf of all who would believe. Without Christ our own death would have been permanent, our eternal future hopeless. But because of his resurrection we too have been raised to newness of life. This is perhaps hard to put into words, but when we are reborn by the power of the Holy Spirit; when God brings us into a relationship with Himself, we become a new person. Everything is new; everything is different. We die to ourselves and our old life, and are made new and alive in Christ.
...if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)


But the one not covered by Christ's sacrifice needs to be careful in asking for justice. The human tendency is sometimes to yearn for God's judgment upon the wicked. We long to see injustice punished. But the final judgment is just that -- final. Judgment will come. It will come in God's own time. But come it will -- it is inevitable. And when it comes, that's it. As C.S.Lewis said, "...when the author walks on to the stage, the play is over."

We as Christians know that the final judgment will determine everyone's eternal destiny. That is why we should be reaching out to all we can with the good news of Jesus Christ -- the good news that they may have eternal life, starting now, by placing all faith and trust in him.

We may yearn for this world to be over, but we must realize that when it is, there is no further hope for those, even those we may know and love, who do not know Christ. We should be careful what we wish for.

Take Care

Isaiah 40:1-11

A reading for the Second Sunday of Advent, and more from Handel's, "Messiah":



Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain. (Isaiah 40: 1-4, KJV)


And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (5)


Take Care

Thursday, 4 December 2008

How to Have Some Fun at Work

These are from our latest Raven Truck Accessories newsletter,

  • At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.
  • Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice.
  • Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.
  • Put your garbage can on your desk and label it, "IN BOX".
  • In the memo field of all your cheques, write, "for sexual favours."
  • Reply to everything someone says with, "That's what you think."
  • Finish all your sentences with, "in accordance with prophecy."
  • As often as possible skip rather than walk.
  • Specify that your drive-through order is to go.
  • When the money comes out of the ATM, scream, "I won! I won! 3rd time this week!"
  • When leaving the zoo, start running toward the parking lot yelline, "Run for your lives! They're loose!"
  • Sing along at the opera.
  • Find out where your boss shops for clothes and buy exactly the same outfits. Wear them one day after your boss does.


Monday, 1 December 2008

Scott posted Bach's Magnificat on his blog today and it got me thinking of my own favourite Christmas peice, Handel's Messiah. Here is my second favourite movement from it -- probably most of your churches included this verse in yesterday's service, the first Sunday of Advent.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Enjoy, praise God and Take Care.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Gentleness and Respect

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect... (1 Peter 3:15)

Our Sunday morning adult class today was on the subject of apologetics, the art of defending the Christian faith to both questioners and attackers alike. The discussion was a lively and informative one, the focus this morning being on Scriptural inerrancy, but the question that occurred to me over the intervening time is this: are gentleness and respect called for in every circumstance?

As I mentioned earlier, one of the areas we are called to defend or explain our faith is when, as in the verse above, we are asked to give the reason for the hope that we have. In other words, when someone seems sincerely interested in our faith and would like us to explain it to them. This we are to do with gentleness and respect. This was also my attitude when I used to have discussions with an employee who was quite a devout Jehovah's Witness. There was nothing to be gained by arguing with her, so I just tried to focus on explaining the differences between our two faiths in the hope that she might begin to see the truth where we Christians believe the Watchtower to be in error.

The other is when the tenets of our faith are under direct attack, either from unbelievers, or those inside the church. Is such gentless and respect called for in all circumstances? Certainly Jesus himself didn't think so in Matthew chapter 23 where he calls the religious leaders hypocrites and a brood of vipers. In fact, not only Jesus, but Paul, Peter and Jude all warn against those who would destroy the faith, and in these cases, it seems to me, they are calling for neither gentleness nor respect.

I believe the difference is between sincere seekers, and those (outside or particularly inside the church) who would see Christianity either destroyed or radically altered. These enemies of our faith deserve neither our gentleness nor our respect.

Someone questioned whether inerrancy in and of itself was that important. Wasn't it enough to believe that Jesus died for our sins? But the leader rightly raised the question of how, if we don't believe the Bible is inerrant, can we be sure about Jesus, his death and resurrection at all. In other words, if we start giving away inerrancy on even seemingly small points, how do we know where to stop?

And again, even though this is in a Baptist church, I see the lesson large and clear in the Anglican church here in Canada.The term, 'slippery slope' can be somewhat of a cliche, but it becomes a cliche only because it is a truism. Once an individual or a church begins to discount certain areas of Scripture, the next is easier to ignore. Soon we see central doctrines like the Virgin birth, the Divinity of Christ and Jesus as the only way to the Father being questioned or abandoned.

And the irony of it all is that churches that adopt these more 'open' views, do so often to appeal to a broader audience, but end up withering gradually away. This gradual dying away is surely the inevitable consequence of these liberal views, but their adherents seem to keep blindly and determinedly plodding down the same broad road, somehow expecting a different result. And as I said this morning, it is indeed heartbreaking to see a denomination one cares for being rent apart by these divisions, but that is exactly where the abandonment of the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture leads.

You have heard the expression that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Someone also told me once that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. But some people just never learn!

Take Care

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

O'Byrne Scores Empty-Net Tying Goal...

Unfortunately it was on his own net, while his goalie was out for an extra attacker on a delayed penalty call.

For those who haven't seen it...

Oops!

I witnessed this next one in person, Steve Smith scoring on Grant Fuhr to virtually put an end to the Oilers playoff hopes back in '86. Eva and I had seats behind the net at the other end of the rink.



I'm sure all of us are happy we've never in our lives done anything nearly so embarassing. ;)
Take Care

Monday, 24 November 2008

Revenue Canada Tax Calculations?



h/t StandFirm bailout explained

Then It's Not Science, Is It?

From Here...
Law prof to geneticists: keep racism out of science
A University of Alberta law professor is urging caution and precision in the field of genetic research to avoid a flare-up in racist attitudes.

Timothy Caulfield, the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, says biomedical scientists keen to explore genetic variation across populations run the risk of encouraging racism.

Now, I don't think, from the article, that he's saying we should fudge scientific research to accomodate the feelings of racial minorities, but he comes awfully close.
There is also tentative evidence that reading about race-linked biological research in the press can fuel discrimination. For example, last year Nobel prize-winning geneticist James Watson told a British newspaper that he believes black people are less intelligent than white people. The comment caused widespread outrage.

Things are either true or they're not. If so, acknowledge them. If not, dispute or disprove them. But don't let someone's feelings, individual or collective, dictate what is accepted as scientific fact. Let's not have the middle ages all over again - Copernicus & Galileo et al. Except this time it won't be the church. It's the "pretzels," a term I just coined to refer to those who bend over so far backwards to be politically correct that they tie themselves in knots.

Take Care

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Even When It Hurts

In this morning's adult class we looked at Psalm 15, speaking of who may dwell in the LORD's sanctuary. Parts of verses three and four gave me food for thought:
...(he who) has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts...

Someone raised the point that slander involves speaking lies about another person. But I believe the Christian is held to an even higher standard. Sometimes there are things that, even if true, we should keep to ourselves. We can cast slurs even if what we say about another might be true. Let's say we have been wronged in some way by another, even a brother or sister in Christ. And let's say even that our complaint is legitimate. Matthew 18 gives us instructions for resolving conflicts in the church, but whether the situation is resolved or not, we must let it go. It is not up to us to grumble, or even hint at in casual conversation, how badly we have been treated. I was reminded by a recent post on Dave Groff's blog of Ephesians 4:29,
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

No matter how justified we might feel, or how wronged we might feel ouselves to have been, or how right our case against the other, we are commanded by the Apostle Paul to speak only what will build others up, not tear them down.

And this brings me to the last part of my quote from Psalm 15,
...who keeps his oath even when it hurts...

As Christians, I believe that keeping an oath also refers to our obeying the word of God. Not only are we to refrain from all speech that does not build others up, we are not to, "go public" with our disputes.

I believe this applies to the current disputes within the Anglican Church of Canada, where various dioceses are taking congregations to court (over Church properties) who have opted to join the Anglican Network in Canada under the oversight of the Province of the Southern Cone. It should be well known that my sympathies lies squarely with the Network in these disputes. I link to them below. But I believe they should not be involved in these legal disputes, even as the, "passive" party. Why? Because these proceedings are being held in front of unbelievers, and even just defending oneself, being the party under attack, if you like, becomes part of the spectacle of what the world sees as Christians divided amongst themselves. Now I realize I have the luxury here of not being involved in one of these disputes. I have the luxury of not having to see the building in which I have worshipped, perhapes all my life, being claimed by what I see (rightly I might add) as an apostate organization. But these are just buildings, which is more than the most vibrant Church of all time, the first century Church, had. I realize I may draw the ire of my brothers and sisters who are the victims of these litigations, but I believe they should just walk away. As Paul said, "Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?"

The one who would dwell in the LORD's sanctuary, who would live on His holy hill is the one who, "keeps his oath... even when it hurts."

Take Care

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Is There a "Symetry Gene?"

OK, so this might seem silly, but sometimes the silliest seeming questions are the ones left unanswered.

We have a new kitten. It is a tabby with brown, black and tan markings. The pattern of the markings are the same on both her sides, and I found myself wondering why. The simplest answer is that she got her pattern from her parents, but that is not very satisfying. One can just keep asking, "Where did they get it from?" all the way back to the beginning, whenever that was.

The same question could be asked about humans. Why do we have five fingers on both our right and left hands? Why five toes on each foot. Why, in effect, are the right and left sides of our bodies mirror images? How do genes work. Is there a, 'mirror-image gene' that ensures both halves of our bodies are the same? Or are we the way we are because our parents and hence our ancestors were that way?

Which leads me to the evolutionary part of this question. If we trace ourselves, and all life, back to some kind of blob, what was it that caused both sides of our bodies to be the same? Wouldn't that be the world's greatest coincidence? And if we, and all plant and animal life, came to be the way we are through a countless series of mutations, why are virtually all animals built the same way today? Wouldn't some of these mutations have affected this particular attribute? They certainly seem to have affected a multitude of others.

Now the evolutionists say that the creatures that survive have done so because they were more suitably adapted to their environments that those that didn't. In other words, if a certain mutation gave its recipients a survival advantage, then those specimines would eventually take over and the disadvantaged ones die out. But is there any record, fossil or otherwise, of any extinct animal sepcies that are unsymetrical? Besides, it wouldn't seem to me to be a particular disadvantage to have had five fingers on one hand and seven or eight on the other? Why aren't there more people or animals around with these or other "abnormalities?"

One of the advantages, for instance, that we humans have, along with the great apes, is the "opposing thumb." Why are both thumbs opposing? There are evolution sites that explain its development but no one thinks to wonder, let alone explain, what mutation happened to develope it on both hands at once? Or are there fossil records of our ancient ancestors with only one of them?

As I said, these may seem like silly questions. But sometimes the experts are so concerned with the complex questions that they don't see or bother with the simple ones. Far be it for me to expect that anyone with expertise in genetics might read this blog, but I would like to hear an explanation. If there is a gene that automatically ensures our bodies are, 'mirror imaged,' that is one thing. But if our bodies are the way they are just because every one of our ancestors were, I'm afraid that leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

Or maybe we were just made that way? Go figure.

Take Care

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Sarah Palin'?

I just realized what it is about Sarah Palin. She has been interviewed more times, it seems, since the American election than before it, and I finally came to me -- she omits the letter 'G' from the 'ing' about half the time. She is lookin' forward to reachin' out to Barak Obama and gettin' goin' to solve the problems of the country. She may think it sounds homespun, but I'm afraid I just find it annoyin'.

I think here real name must have been Paling and she just shortened it as well.

That's Sarah Palin' of the Republicin' party.

Take Care

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

It's Back!


A year and a half after it was stolen, I now have my toy, my 1984 Buick Grand National, back. It has been freshly painted, and partly re-upholstered - looks gorgeous!
The start of the whole adventure began because it wasn't running right. The local service shop couldn't figure out the problem, and the car was stolen while waiting for them to pick it up at my shop. However, its poor running may have been why it was recovered because the thiefs abandoned it in Fox Creek Alberta, not wanting to try to coax it any further.
The service shop, which will remain unnamed, spent a lot of their time (and my money) trying to figure it out, all to no avail. Finally a friend discovered the mass air flow (MAF)sensor (don't ask me exactly how it works) was faulty. These are no longer available for the '84 turbo Regal, so I had to get one from an online used parts seller in North Carolina. So now it runs perfectly as well. I have actually had it back for a few weeks and have had a blast driving it. But now the first snow has come, so it is sequestered in my garage til spring. Here is a little info I prepared on the '80's Grand Nationals:
The 1984 - 1987 Grand Nationals represent the hallmark of the Buick Turbo Cars. The all-black exterior paint and the bulging hood remind one of the muscle cars of the sixties. The Turbo V6 engine, with all of its sophisticated components, proves that technology, when applied in the right manner, can effectively substitute for cubic inches.

Beginning in 1984, the Grand National package (Option WE2) came with standard black paint, black bumpers, rub strips and guards, black front air dam, deck lid spoiler, aluminum wheels with black paint, and Grand National identification on the exterior and instrument panel. Standard was a turbocharged, fuel injected V6 (Engine Code LM9), rated at a strong 200 bhp and 300 lb-ft of torque. To put that power to the road, the GN came with a 3.42:1 Posi-Trac rear end.

Many people still consider them to be the only true muscle car of the ‘80’s (although I would add the late '80's 5.0 litre Mustangs). Each year they were made they were the fastest North American production automobile. In fact, speculation is that GM forced Buick to drop the Grand National after 1987 because Chevrolet insisted that nothing in the GM stable should be faster than the Corvette, as the Grand National was.

Take care

Monday, 10 November 2008

War No More

Mahalia Jackson sings, "Study War No More".

In the last days
the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established
as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.

Many peoples will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths."
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore. (Isaiah 2:2-4)

As believers we look forward to a time, yet future, when there will be no more war; when fathers and mothers, husbands or wives, daughters and sons will no more mourn loved ones lost on the world's battlefields. But for now, let us remember those who have served, and serve still, performing their service in places and ways in which many, myself included, could never imagine ourselves.

Take Care

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Oprah - "I Would Have Lost My Soul..."

Following Barak Obama's election victory, Oprah Winfrey referenced Mark 8:36,
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
saying, "I would have lost my soul had I not stood up for Barak Obama."

I don't think she quite gets Jesus' point about the losing the soul thing.

View the interview Here...

h/t Nova Scotia Scott

Take Care

A Few More Bulletin Bloopers

~ The Honeymooners are now having bile studies each Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m.

~ Hymn of Invitation: "Whoever He Leads I'll Go"

~ The visiting monster today is Rev. Jack Bains.

~ Worshipers are asked to wail until all have been served to partake of the Body and the Blood of Christ.

~ Pray for continual growth in the lives of many of our teens--that a food foundation will be laid in their lives.

~ Boars of Trustees

~ We are always happy to have you sue our facility.

~ The activity will take place on the church barking lot.

~ Hymn: I am Thin, O Lord.

~ I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, even though he diets, yet shall be live.

~ Hymn: I Need Three Every Hour

~ New Missionaries: Tim is a pilot and flies missionaries and supplies into the bush.

~ Palm Sunday: Our regular service will be gin at 11:00 a.m.

~ All children are requested to bring fresh followers to decorate the cross for Easter Sunday.

~ When parking on the north side of the church, please remember to park on an angel.

~ Jean will be leading a weight-management series Wednesday nights. She's used the program herself and has been growing like crazy!

~ Volunteers are needed to spit up food for distribution following the Restaurant Supply Show at the Expo Center.

~ This evening at 7 P.M. there will be a hymn sing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

~ The King's Bras will present a concert at our church this evening at 6.

~ On Easter Sunday, our bulletin read "Jesus was buried in a bomb but He lives today!"

~ Women in the Word starts next week. There are several different studies to choose from. Ladies, make sure you sign up for a stud before next week.

~ On the sign in front of the church:
This week's sermon: "When is Sex Not Enough?"
The choir sings: "I Need Thee Every Hour"

These and more from mikeysFunnies.com

Monday, 3 November 2008

When Will They Ever Learn?...

...or at least admit that the sexualization of our children is having disastrous results?
Study: Sex on TV linked to teen pregnancies
The RAND Corp. study is the first of its kind to identify a link between teenagers’ exposure to sexual content on TV and teen pregnancies. The study, released Monday and published in the November edition of the journal Pediatrics, found that teens exposed to high levels of sexual content on television were twice as likely to be involved in a pregnancy in the following three years as teens with limited exposure.
Wow, quel surprise!

“We were surprised to find this link,” said Anita Chandra, the study’s lead author and a behavioral scientist at RAND,...
Oh, really?

“This might surprise people, but sitcoms had the highest sexual content,”
Surprise? I don't think so. Think, 'Friends' or 'Will & Grace' for starters. And that's not even counting what's on today. I'm afraid I don't keep up, but it seems to me it's getting more and more blatant. I never watched the two shows I just mentioned, but a while ago a I started to watch an episode of "Scrubs" and found it disgusting. A priest at a former church mentioned from the pulpit how much he liked 'Friends,' and I could only shake my head. (Neither he nor I are now at that church). How could someone who names the name of Christ, and is supposed to be preaching it, enjoy regularly watching a show that glorifies immoral lifestyles, and boast about it?

This has long been a concern of mine. When my own daughters were young it was Madonna and explicit rap lyrics. Now I have only to be concerned for my grandchildren.

But this issue is infused with the greatest hypocrisy imaginable. I remember shaking my head at Madonna leading the fight against AIDS, while everything she did professionally seemed determined to promote the very behaviour that led to its spread. So, I am sure, it is with the current producers of this overtly sexual material. They are probably in the forefront of movements calling for more sex education, the fight against AIDS, the fight against child poverty, etc., all the while pumping out material that directly contradicts their words. Why don't they include proper sex education in their shows if they are so concerned? Probably because neither proper sexual morality, nor a frank and genuine discussion of sexual issues, is very funny.

But they themselves are laughable.

Thus endeth the rant.

Take Care

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Psalm 57:1

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.

Some time ago I went through a peiod of severe clinical depression. It was the blackest, most horrific time I could ever imagine experiencing, and I can remember sitting, literally immobilized in an armchair, repeating this verse over and over again. It seemed to be the only thing that kept me going.

So I find myself wondering, what is it that carries us through a time of disaster? Is it God, or faith in God? In other words, if we find ourselves in an unbearable situation do we say, "My faith is carrying me through," or, "God is carrying me"?

Surely, in the end, it is God who carries us, not just our faith. Faith, properly placed in God Almighty and His Son Jesus Christ, shows us that it is indeed He who carries us, but it is God Himself, not our faith, even in Him, who is our refuge and our strength. If faith; if belief, then our strength is all within us. Our power is all in ourselves, in our own capacities, our own minds, and faith in anything might suffice, for a time.

But even genuine faith is a gift of God. So an extra measure of faith may be given to us to undergird us in untenable circumstances, but under that supporting faith is God Himself. Underneath are the everlasting arms

Take Care

Saturday, 1 November 2008

What's In My CD Player

Daughtry - Crashed

And then I crashed into you,
And I went up in flames.
Could've been the death of me,
But then you breathed your breath in me.
And I crashed into you,
Like a runaway train.
You will consume me,
But I can't walk away.

I've been listening to Daughtry lately. It took a while of hearing him on the radio before I really caught on to whom it was I was listening. The older I get, the further I get behind (not in the sense of 'supporting,' but, 'lagging') current pop culture. but I still like my music fairly heavy from time to time. This CD has been out for a couple of years now, but is still getting radio play.

Chris Daughtry acknowledges Christ as his Saviour on the CD jacket, and with this in mind, I wondered about the spiritual meaning of this song, which I particularly like. These lyrics remind me of my own salvation experience, with one notable exception. I wasn't exactly moving at the speed of sound, and I didn't exactly crash into God. I was just sort of ambling along and bumped into Him.

But it's still the same thing. We find God only because He is there. And He's there only because He puts Himself there. In other words, the unsaved person doesn't find God, can't find God, even if he insists he is looking for Him. It is God who does the 'finding'. The one who does not yet know God is still stumbling directionless in the dark until God Himself brings him into the light.

But as I have said in other places, God placed Himself in front of me, at a particular time, and in a partular place, and under particular circumstances, exactly according to His good pleasure. And suddenly, instantly, everything was different. And I knew it was different. I was in a new place, and I was taken completely by surprise. This new place was not something I could have invented, made up or even dreamed of. But it began to dawn on me that in this new place I was a child of God, where before, in the old place, I wasn't. And one thing a child of God realizes is that before he was in this place, before God breathed His breath into him, he could never have imagined what it would be like.

Having said all that, I am convicted just how poorly I share the wonders of this new place with those around me who are not yet in it. May God widen my own vision, and may I make the effort to step out in faith to reach those who need to hear.

Take Care

Sunday, 26 October 2008

There is Evil Here

From the Anglican Essentials blog, Anglican bishops of Montreal and Ottawa have indicated they intend to proceed with the blessing of same-sex unions in their respective dioceses. Recently, the Anglican parishes of the Central (B.C.) Interior also voted to ask their bishop to permit these blessings as well, but Bishop Gordon Light has decided to "...suspended any action pending consultations with the Canadian house of bishops, which meets Oct. 27 to 31," as if we don't already know the outcome of that consultation.

In regards to that story I used the term arrogance, and I take none of that back, but I now call it for what I see it, and for what I believe it is -- evil.

Leaving aside the presenting issue, that of these totally inappropriate, 'blessings', and not even commenting on their rightness or wrongness, the evil I see is much more sinister; much more blatant; much more deliberate.

Because, given the climate within the Anglican Church of Canada, and given the recent request to hold back on such blessings from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the titular head of Anglicans worldwide, these Canadian bishops and their followers are embarking on a course, engaging in actions, that will destroy the Anglican Church of Canada. And they know it. They cannot help but know it. The fracture of the Anglican Church in Canada will be a direct consequence of their courses of action. And yet this will not give them pause. I believe the next few weeks and months will see them wilfully and knowingly commence the dismantling of their church. To be even more plain, and here is the unspeakable evil, they are deliberately setting out to destroy part of Christ's body.

Now they might see this as justifiable, purging the organization of those pesky conservatives who hold on to outdated notions of Biblical authority and other such nonsense, but we have been warned about this haven't we.

Take Care

PS: Read what the Muse has to say, Here...

November 1: Update Here...

November 2: Update 2 Here...

Again, I rest my case.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Still More Church Bulletin Bloopers

Mikey's Funnies just keeps 'em coming.

~ This one I said myself during the congregational prayer when leading prayer for our unsaved loved ones: Father, we just want to pray for our unloved saved ones.

~ Please welcome Pastor Don, a caring individual who loves hurting people.

~ Come out this evening for a time of prayer and sinning.

~ A woman's blouse was found at a table in the middle of the servant appreciation dinner. If you lost your blouse, please come to the church office.

~ Overeaters Anonymous meeting will be held at 8 pm in the large room.

~ The ladies in the style show will meet with their dresses down in front after morning worship.

~ A worm welcome to all who have come today.

~ Sermon Outline:
I. Delineate your fear
II. Disown your fear
III. Displace your rear

~ Next Friday we will be serving hot gods for lunch.

~ If you would like to make a donation, fill out a form, enclose a check and drip in the collection basket.

~ Nov. 11: An evening of boweling at Lincoln Country Club.

~ Women's Luncheon: Each member bring a sandwich. Polly Phillips will give the medication.

~ Karen's beautiful solo: "It is Well with my Solo"

~ Congratulations to Tim and Rhonda on the birth of their daughter October 12 thru 17.

~ If you choose to heave during the Postlude, please do so quietly.

~ We are grateful for the help of those who cleaned up the grounds around the church building and the rector.

~ Hymn: "I Love Thee My Ford"

~ Sign-up sheet for anyone wishing to be water baptized on the table in the foyer.

~ Newsletters are not being sent to absentees because of their weight.

~ Helpers are needed! Please sign up on the information sheep.

~ The Advent Retreat will be held in the lover level of St. Mary's Cathedral.

~ The District Duperintendent will be meeting with the church board.

Take Care

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Arrogance in the Interior

Central Interior Assembly Says ‘Yes’ to Blessings

From the Anglican Journal
The assembly of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (APCI) (British Columbia, Canada, JK) has requested its bishop, Gordon Light, to allow clergy whose conscience permits to bless civilly-married gay couples where at least one party is baptized. The assembly passed the motion when it met Oct. 17 to 19.

This in the face of the recent request by the worldwide Anglican Communion who issued, after the Lambeth conference, a request for a moratorium on the blessing of same-sex unions. This is the former Diocese of the Cariboo which was bankrupted by having to make reparations for the abuse suffererd by aboriginal peoples in its residential school system. Apparently they are still determined to display the same arrogant attitude that says, "We know better than you. We are modern. We are enlightened. In short, we don't care what the rest of you think, our way is best."
“We had a very respectful discussion. All voices were heard,” said Rev. Susan Hermanson, rector of St. Peter’s Anglican church in Williams Lake, who moved the motion.

All voices may have been heard, but orthodox voices and the clear teaching of Scripture were obviously ignored. And so another diocese heads down the road to the point where its parishioners may as well just stay at home and watch Oprah.
A notice of a similar motion was filed at the synod of the diocese of Ontario but was declared out of order by the diocesan bishop, George Bruce,

At least, as one person on the Anglican Essentials blog commented,the Bishop of Ontario showed some backbone. The Diocese of Edmonton also just held its synod, and the Bishop had made it plain, as I understand it, that she would not even entertain such a motion, so the matter wasn't even on the table.

But people like the Rev. Susan Hermanson and the bishop Gordon Light just don't get it. They are strolling casually, yet blindly, down a broad road, ignoring, even flouting, warnings of danger from the faithful; spitting in the face, effectively, of the great majority of Anglicans of the world, including, may I add, the majority of Canada's First Nations Peoples whom their predecessors so miserably abused in the past.

Take Care

Monday, 20 October 2008

If Necessary, Use Words

I came upon this phrase again this past weekend. It is attributed to St Francis of Assisi, who may (or may not) have said something like,
"Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary use words."

I was reminded of what Pastor Terry once said, that the true gospel cannot be communicated in anything but words.

Nowadays the term, 'gospel' is used in all sorts of applications and has been assigned all sorts of meanings by people of all sorts of theological stripes. But the Apostle Paul tells us clearly exactly what the real Gospel is:
Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

In short, the Gospel is simply that Jesus died and rose again so that those who believe in him may have forgiveness of sins and eternal life with him. How do you communicate that without words?

Now, I am not trying to diminish the thought behind the initial quote, but I think it applies more to a verse like Matthew 5:16:
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Or another,
"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35)

These two can indeed be shown without words, and Christians are called to do so, but they are not the Gospel. They may be a prelude, or a means of gaining the opportunity to present the Gospel. But the true Gospel of Jesus Christ still requires words, either spoken or written. There is no other way.

Take Care

Saturday, 18 October 2008

I Have Decided?

I played the music for St Catherines Anglican here in Edson on a recent Sunday. I wanted everyone to go out on an enthusiastic note, so I picked for the last song, "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus." Frankly, I gave a lot of thought to the theological correctness of the song, and here's why.

Occasionally I have opportunity to go into Edmonton on business on a weekday morning, and on the Christian radio I catch programs by Charles Stanley, David Jeremiah and others, many of whom seem to claim that our salvation depends upon our making a decision to accept Christ as Saviour. I always wince at this because some may be given the false confidence that merely mouthing the words of a 'sinner's prayer' ensures their salvation. I'm afraid the greatest example of this is Joel Osteen, who tacks on, almost as an afterthought, such a prayer at the end of every program, then says, "We believe that if you prayed that prayer, you got born again..." I shake my head at such an oversimplification of regeneration. I think this is misleading counsel, perhaps devastatingly so. It is God who gives us new life. We do not regenerate ourselves. We don't have any more control over our second birth than we had over our first.

But the truly born-again Christian can indeed decide to follow Jesus, Indeed, he must, every minute of every day. We must choose right over wrong, good over evil, in every area of our lives, personal, spiritual, business or career. We must choose everything we do by what God says rather than by how we feel. The authority of the word of God must govern every decision to which it applies.

Those who do not yet know God cannot decide to follow Jesus on their own. Because the things of Jesus are foolishness to him. It is a decision the unsaved person is not equipped to make. But the unsaved person must be invited to seek God with all his heart, with God's promise in mind that all who seek will find.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.(Jer 29:13)
For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.(Luke 11:10)

Which, LORD willing, will bring him to the point where, as William Wilberforce is reported to have said, "I didn't find God... He found me."

Take Care

Friday, 17 October 2008

More Church Bulletin Bloopers

From Mikey's Funnies


~ The associate minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: "I Upped My Pledge, Up Yours!"

~ The Rev. Adams spoke briefly, much to the delight of his audience.

~ The eighth graders will be presenting Shakespeare's "Hamlet" in the church basement on Friday at 7 pm. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

~ A new loudspeaker system has been installed in the church. It was given by one of our members in honor of his wife.

~ The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.

~ The Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.

~ Evening massage: 6 p.m.

~ The Pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.

~ The audience is asked to remain seated until the end of the recession.

~ Thursday at 5:00 pm there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All wishing to become little mothers, please see the minister in his study.

~ Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30 pm. Please use the back door.

~ Ushers will eat latecomers.

~ The third verse of "Blessed Assurance" will be sung without musical accomplishment.

~ Next Sunday Mrs. Vinson will be soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on "It's a Terrible Experience."

~ Due to the Rector's illness, Wednesday's healing services will be discontinued until further notice.

~ Stewardship Offertory: "Jesus Paid It All"

~ The concert held in Fellowship Hall was a great success. Special thanks are due to the minister's daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which as usual fell upon her.

~ In the church bulletin during the minister's illness: GOD IS GOOD! Dr. Hargreaves is better.

Take Care

Thursday, 16 October 2008

This Is (Apparently) Not Made Up

From a comment on This thread...
It’s not the most bizarre thing I’ve seen this week (month?) from the ACoC though; that has to be a Hallows Eve resource handout from the Ottawa Diocese Christian Education distribution list which includes an “Evening Hymn for Autumn” to sing around “your smiling Halloween jack o’lantern”. Lyrics (I’m not making this up) are:
"O Great Pumpkin, O Great Pumpkin,
Give Us Light! Give Us Light!
On An Autumn Evening, On an Autumn Evening,
Give Us Light! Give Us Light!"

The email states that this material was originally developped by Diocese of Connecticut and helpfully suggests participants “check the comfort level of your priest before singing ‘An Evening Hymn for Autumn’ shown at the bottom of this handout which uses the Great Pumpkin language for God”.

The sender comments that this “wouldn’t be appropriate in all settings. Need to be clear who we are worshipping and why.”

Indeed.

Scary stuff.

Take Care

Update: A more complete post on this subject is Here... Apparently this wonderful new addition to the world's hymnody is to be sung to the tune of 'Frere Jacques'

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

When the Jehovah's Witnesses Call

The Ugley Vicar has a helpful post on witnessing to Jehovah's Witnesses.Please read the whole thing.

The JW's are quite strong in Edson, but what should our attitudes as evangelical Christians be? Should we see them as nuisances to be avoided? Or should our hearts be moved to view them as people who need, just as much as anyone else, to come to know the truth about Jesus Christ as God and Saviour?

Surely the latter. In my experience, we cannot argue them (or anyone else) into the Kingdom, even though there are many points on which they are in serious error. It is only God, by His Holy Spirit, who can open someone's spiritual eyes and bring them to new life. Becoming bogged down on points of doctrinal differences can be counter-productive. But aside from doctrines of God and the Trinity, one of the areas upon which I think it effective to focus is our salvation, and our assurance of it. JW's do not have the concept of what it is to 'know' we have eternal life, even though the Bible promises us that we can (1 John 5:13)

I once told a Witness that I had been born again by the Spirit of God. To them, being 'born again' cannot happen in this life. It is something future. But then I quoted, to clarify what I meant by being born again, 2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
The tense is present, not future. We can know here and now, that we have new life and that our eternal future is secure.

This is where I personally would try to focus. That we can have a hope and assurance by trusting Christ right here, right now, that they can never have trusting what they are being told by the Watchtower.

It is, however, important to be well equipped in any discussion with the Witnesses who come to our door, lest we be caught offguard by some of their well rehearsed and, perhaps to the uninformed, persuasive, arguments. One of the best resources I have found is This booklet from John Ankerberg

Jesus died for whosoever will come to him in faith, and who knows but that might includes these visitors to our doors we may see as 'unwelcome.'

Take Care

What's your theological worldview?

Try This Quiz... I'm not sure how the quiz is scored according to the questions posed (some were rather vague and not quite to a particular point, in my opinion), but let me know how you make out.

Here are my results:

You Scored as Reformed Evangelical
You are a Reformed Evangelical. You take the Bible very seriously because it is God's Word. You most likely hold to TULIP and are sceptical about the possibilities of universal atonement or resistible grace. The most important thing the Church can do is make sure people hear how they can go to heaven when they die.

Reformed Evangelical 89%
Fundamentalist 75%
Neo orthodox 68%
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 61%
Roman Catholic 46%
Emergent/Postmodern 36%
Classical Liberal 36%
Charismatic/Pentecostal 25%
Modern Liberal 11%

I have no idea how I got 46% Roman Catholic, seeing as how I answered the questions on Mary and the Pope in complete disagreement. It may be that I gave some importance to Holy communion (my Anglican background, I suppose). The 11% in the modern liberal category is even more of a puzzle. As far as I know, I don't have a modern liberal bone in my body.

Take Care

Monday, 13 October 2008

Church Bulletin Bloopers

~ At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

~ Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

~ The senior choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.

~ Please join us as we show our support for Amy and Alan in preparing for the girth of their first child.

~ Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

~ The Lutheran men's group will meet at 6 pm. Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread and dessert will be served for a nominal feel.

~ For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

~ During the absence of our Pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.

~ Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.

~ The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.

~ This afternoon there will be a meeting in the north and south ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.

~ Tuesday at 4:00 pm there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk will please come early.

~ Wednesday the Ladies Liturgy Society will meet. Mrs. Jones will sing "Put Me in My Little Bed" accompanied by the pastor.

~ This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.

~ Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 pm.--prayer and medication to follow.

~ The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Belzer; the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer.

~ Weight Watchers will meet at 7 p.m. Please use the large double door at the side entrance.

~ The 1997 Spring Council Retreat will be hell May 10 and 11.

~ Pastor is on vacation. Massages can be given to the church secretary.

Form mikeysFunnies.com

Take Care

Monday, 6 October 2008

This is For My Grandchildren

At least it made me think of them.


You might recognize the music from a Sun-Rype commercial. It's by an indie group called 'Her Space Holiday'. I can't speak for any of their other material, but I love this song, and I just think of my grandkids when I hear it.
Oh I like so very much.
So much in fact I gotta wake you up.
It's not that I have words to speak,
I just wanna see you look at me...


Take Care

PS: Jen, I think you could lengthen this and make a great tap number out of it.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

A Most God-Honouring Service

The funeral service for Emily Stauffer was the most God-honouring event I have ever experienced, and that includes some wonderful services, concerts and conferences, including Alpha conferences. It was at once touching and joyful. I hope (subject to any possible deference to the privacy and feelings of the Stauffer family) that the entire service would become available to the public. It would make a great television special on a Christian channel. I'm sure parts of it may become available on YouTube and I hope they will be widely viewed.

Many of the media have presented the service and the events of the past week with great sensitivity, in my opinion. Here is a link to some of the coverage by CFRN, the Edmonton CTV affiliate. I hope this link will be a permanent one.

TGBTG

Take Care

Edited to add: Although I link to Pastor Terry's blog below, check it out here... to see the comments that have poured in from across our nation and around the world.

At The Mercy of The Lunatics

Scott Gilbreath, formerly of 'Magic Statistics' has relocated, both geographically (from the Yukon) and blogically (a new word that rhymes, but is not necessarily synonymous, with 'logically'). His new blog is Nova Scotia Scott, a title that may give the truly discerning reader some hint as to his new location.

But to link the content of this post to its title, here is a quote from his blog I found irresistible, especially in light of my own reference to the 'lunatics' a few posts back:
"A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us'." --- St Anthony of Egypt

Take Care

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Please Pray...

... for the funeral service to be held tomorrow, Friday Oct 3 for Emily Stauffer.

Thanks be to God for the prayers of His saints for the Stauffer family over these difficult days. Please pray now for the services to be held tomorrow. Pray for Emily's grandfather Al as he delivers the words Gods has given him. Having prayed in faith that God would indeed give him the words to say, we can now stand on God's promise that He will, and has done, exactly that.

Pray, then, for those who will hear; that by God's Spirit, hearts will be touched, ears unstopped, eyes opened, veils lifted. Pray for the Town of Edson, that through it all God’s glory might be seen in these testing times.

Take Care

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

TGBTG

I have closed a couple of my posts with the above letters. My daughter called me to ask what they stood for. First, I will what they do not mean.

1. They do not represent a new deli sandwich, from Tim Horton's or elsewhere.

2. Nor do they represent people with new alternative sexual orientations.

It means, "To God Be The Glory."

Take Care

I Had to Chuckle

Katharine Jefferts Schori, the top Episcopalian in the US continues to preach everything but the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Included in her latest discourse, all of which may be seen Here... (Warning: this may lead to a heightened sense of exasperation) is this gem:
Cattle were not created to eat corn, but rather grass, and while hamburgers and steaks may be produced more rapidly on corn, it is at great cost to the health of the cows...

It just occurred to me that being turned into hamburgers and steaks is an even greater cost to the health of the cows than their diet of corn.

But maybe that's just the way I see things.

Take Care

h/t to The Midwest Conservative Journal

A Famine of Hearing The Word

I have spent days trying to put these thoughts into words and organize them on screen. I'm still not sure I'm quite there even yet.

During our study of the minor prophets, this verse came up:Amos 8:11 "The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD, "when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD." What implications does this have for today?

It seems to me we are suffering a definite famine of hearing the word of God in these days. It has been kicked out of the schools and out of the public square to a great extent. Within liberal churches, even though it may be read every Sunday, its authority is widely ignored and its meaning twisted by the culture and personal moral preferences. Our enlightened western society seems to be deliberately rejecting, even fleeing from God, His word and His authority over us. Morality has been abandoned in favour of an anything-goes, self-centered, pleasure-is-all model of behaviour.

But notice that, according to the verse, the famine is coming from God. It is He who is sending it. I believe that as much as we might arrogantly claim that it is we who are asserting our independence and our self sufficiency; as much as we may think we are in control of our own destiny, it is not done without God's allowing us to do it.

I think Romans chapter 1: 18-32 especially applies here. God has given us over... to sexual impurity ... to shameful lusts... to a depraved mind. We have exchanged the truth of God for a lie. In other words, we, as a people and as a society have been so insistent in having our own way that God has said, in effect, "OK, go ahead!" I think it was C.S. Lewis who said that in the end, either we say to God, "Thy will be done," or He will say to us, "Alright then, thy will be done."

Back to the Prophets. In Ezekiel chapters 9 and 10, Ezekiel sees God's Glory leaving the temple -- but it does so in stages. It does not leave it all at once. It pauses at the threshold, as if offering a chance for repentance. Is God's Glory and all that it entails; His blessing and protection, leaving our nations? Is it too late? Is this North American society about to be granted what we seem to want? I hope not, but I fear so. I believe it is now leaving, and will indeed leave completely if we as a people do not repent, turn around and follow the right path. Today it is at the threshold, poised to leave if we continue to push it away. Only a great repentance and revival can change what otherwise must inevitably follow.

TGBTG

Take Care

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

The Whole World is Upside down

I read recently about a guy in Holland who was arrested for smoking in a cafe. His crime? He was smoking tobacco instead of marijuana. Apparently it is illegal to smoke regular cigarettes in Dutch coffee shops, but quite legal to smoke grass, which I understand is several times more carcinogenic.

Do the people responsible for this wierd reversal of common sense ralize how ridiculous it is? Are they at least embarassed by it?

Or are the lunatics really taking over?

Take Care

Monday, 29 September 2008

More Than We Can Bear? No.

By now you may be familiar with this tragic story of Emily Stauffer, our pastor's daughter.
I have not said anything because, frankly, I really couldn't think of anything to say. Words eluded me. Having said that, it is wonderful to see the outpouring of heartfelt support in the comments on Pastor Terry's Blog

The full import of what happened did not hit me until church, Sunday morning. As I arrived and was greeted with tears by the ushers, and as I sat before the service just reading through some of the Psalms, I felt almost oblivious to what was going on around me. I felt, almost literally, as if I had been hit by a truck.

The one thing I know, having been through the loss of a child (in our case, a grandchild) is that, rather than being able to identify; to be able to say, "I know how you feel," I can only say, "I don't know how you feel. I can't." Nor can anybody else. Grief is so personal, and such deep grief is unfathomable.

But the verse that did come to me for them at the time is I Corinthians 10:13 God has promised that He will not allow us to be tested beyond what we can bear, but when we are, He will give us a way out so we can stand up under it. I didn't quote it to them, or post it in a comment, but I did appropriate it and pray it on his behalf.

How wonderful is God's word. How wonderful that it is true and valid whether or not we, in any particular situation, can actually say we believe it without a doubt at the moment and in the circumstance. And to be truthful, there may be some times when we have trouble accepting the actual truth of it. But it is true whether we can believe or not.

Some circumstances, in the intensity of a moment, may seem to be too much to bear. But for the Christian, they are not. If we think they are, we are wrong. And however long a moment, or even a millisecond of doubt may last; however fierce the enemy's fiery darts, God will indeed carry us through and prove His faithfulness.

These are my own thoughts. Far be it from me to apply them universally, or even specifically to this situation.

But in any case, and in all circumstances,

TGBTG

Take Care

Thursday, 25 September 2008

No Doubt They Thought It Was a Good Idea at the Time

Published: September 30, 1999

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

Read it all Here...

H/T TitusOneNine

Take Care

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Dawkins Again

We saw, "Expelled" this past week. Which once again brought to my mind Richard Dawkins, one of the gurus of atheism.

And I don't know why he is. He is considered somewhat of a hero amongst the atheist and darwinist communities, but I'm afraid I find his arguments to be quite shallow, his reasoning faulty in many places, and some of his logic to be contradictory and even downright dishonest in places. If not dishonest, at least suffering from a kind of intellectual tunnel vision.

Here is one more example of his speaking out of both sides of his mouth, or thinking out of both sides of his brain, and not letting one side know what the other is thinking.

He insists throughout his book (The God Delusion) that God (if He exists) must be very complicated to have created the universe and everything in it because the creator, he argues, must necessarily be more complex than its creation.

But then, on page 117, he says this:
That scientifically savvy philosopher Daniel Dennett pointed out that evolution counters one of the oldest ideas we have: 'the idea that it takes a big fancy smart thing to make a lesser thing...' Darwin's discovery of a workable process that does that very counter-intuitive thing is what makes his contribution to human thought so revolutionary...

Of course, he does not see, and cannot admit, that the existence of God is also a 'workable process' that accomplishes, and indeed has accomplished, the very same thing. Counter-intuitive? Perhaps, but here he counters his very argument against the existence of God.

Emporer Dawkins, I'm afraid, has no clothes. At the very least he is walking about in his underwear.

Take Care

Monday, 15 September 2008

Why???? Do They Think He's Listening?

Here is what can only be described as the silliest of stories, regarding the most pointless of empty gestures, that can do nothing but heap embarassment on the fuzzy-thinking heads of the bend-over-backwards types in the CofE.
Charles Darwin to receive apology from the Church of England for rejecting evolution

Need any more be said?

H/T to Doug Wilson

Take Care

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Choice? Only If It's The Right One

This story is a few days old, but I found it belatedly and some of you may not yet have seen it. It regards US VP nominee Sarah Palin's decision not to terminate a pregnancy knowing that the baby would be born with Down syndrome.
Particularly troubling is the opinion of André Lalonde, executive vice-president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada(!)
...Ms. Palin's widely discussed decision to keep her baby, knowing he would be born with the condition, may inadvertently influence other women who may lack the necessary emotional and financial support to do the same...
Dr. Lalonde said that above all else, women must be free to choose, and that popular messages to the contrary could have detrimental effects on women and their families.
"The worry is that this will have an implication for abortion issues in Canada," he said.

Thanks to Felix Hominum for this story. From his blog,
I recall Dr Lalonde's last comments in a national Canadian newspaper. The SOCG began recommending genetic testing for all pregnant women and "automatic" genetic testing for pregnant women over 40. "Choice"? What exactly does it mean to be automatically given a test? Here is what he had to say in comment to the National Post: “Yes, it’s going to lead to more termination, but it’s going to be fair to these women who are 24 who say, ‘How come I have to raise an infant with Down’s syndrome, whereas my cousin who was 35 didn’t have to?'" Think that one through. Carefully.
Dr Lalonde, who says that "above all else, women must be free to choose", seems in fact to be worried by one choice in particular: Sarah Palin's choice to have a child with Down Syndrome.

Obviously, some people who declare themselves to be pro choice really approve only of choices with which they agree. (BTW, check out the beautiful picture at the end of the aforelinked Felix Hominum post.)

Take Care

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Sadly Inevitable

In the wake of the recent revelation regarding the pregnancy of Sarah Palin's daughter, I must post again about a subject on which I have written before; the too-early sexualization of our kids. I recently spoke with a seventeen year old girl who was living with her boy friend. She found herself pregnant, and was torn about what to do, because she really didn't like the guy and was thinking about moving out. She mentioned she had seven other friends who were pregnant, many of whom weren't going to continue in their relationships with their babies' fathers, but who all planned to keep their children. Thanks be to God, none of them apparently had considered terminating their pregnancies, but it is an indication of just how ordinary the beautiful God-given gift of sexual intimacy has become. Intercourse seems to have become the new hand-holding.

Then, there is something sad, yet somehow unsurprising about this story. Here we read about a 15-year-old girl declaring herself to be bisexual. The head-shaker to me is that she "came out" two years ago. She would have been about 13! How does a thirteen year old girl come out as a bisexual? I might, tongue in cheek, say that thirteen year olds, to the extent that they are sexual at all, probably all have confusing feelings in different directions. But I really believe that in the case of this girl, there had to be some adult pressure, either societal or parental. For some reason she felt she had to declare her sexual orientation way before I believe a thirteen-year-old would really have done so of her own accord.

Off topic, but it's also interesting how the term, 'queer' has been embraced by the GLBT (a term which itself sounds like some kind of deli sandwich) community, almost like the formerly despised epithet, 'nigger' has been adopted by certain blacks.

Take Care

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Correction

In a previous post I falsely accused the United Church of Canada of changing the words to 'Amazing Grace." It appears this was incorrect. I am now told that the 'Voices United' hymnbook retains the term, 'wretch' after all. My apologies to any I may have hurt or offended by this error.

Take Care

Thursday, 28 August 2008

What Would Jesus Do?

My co-father-in-law Dave posted this conundrum over on his blogRather than get into an extended debate on Dave's blog, I thought I would give my further thoughts here. For one thing, if Dave posts that he did something different, it may cause a family dispute.;) If this is going to result controversy, I'd just as soon I did it here as over at his place. Here is the relevant part of the story,
The gas station here is full service so I told the attendant I wanted $20 of regular. She set the pump then went off to help other customers. A couple minutes later I realized the pump was still going and I quickly got out to shut it off. It was just over $54.00. The girl saw me get out and came running over to see that it had not stopped at the $20 she said she had set it at.

I was torn as to what to do; as to what the Christian thing was to do. If I had wanted to fill it I would have gone across to get the cheaper gas. Yet I did get much more than $20 worth of gas.


Here was my reply:
The right thing for a Christian to do is to pay for the gas you got, even if it was a mistake on the attendant's part. If the attendant was short, she would probably have to pay it herself. The really right thing to do, especially if you are known as a Christian, especially if you are known as a pastor, is to pay it graciously. The really, really right thing, if you are not known as a Christian or a pastor, is to pay it graciously and then introduce yourself as the pastor of the Baptist church. As the song says, "They will know your are Christian by your love."

Another person replied as follows:
Hummm....that's one of those trick questions! On one hand, I agree w/ John K. On the other hand, you did only ask for $20. You could have been in a position of ONLY having $20 to your name. As a single mom at one time, it's happened to me. $20 for gas. That's my budget. So, then what? Does it make you LESS of a Christian to NOT pay for what you didn't ask for? I don't think so...
And it is against the law in most places (Alberta included) for the owners to force the attendant to pay for mistakes, drive offs, etc..
So - - I guess I didn't answer your question, but would love to hear what you did!!!

But I did have further thoughts, and here they are. It seems to me that knowingly taking something not due you, unless it is a willing gift on the other party's part, is theft, even if it was a mistake on their part. My daughters still give me a hard time over the time, on a family outing, they were accidentally given a loonie too much change at a variety store. They told me about it a couple of km down the road. I turned around and made them take it back. Theft is theft, whether it is from the person behind the counter who sold you the pack of gum, the gas station attendant, or Imperial Oil.

In the case of having only $20.00 for gas, let's say that you are so strapped that $20.00 a week is all you can afford for gas. In that case, if you got $60.00 of gas accidentally, you now have 3 weeks worth of gas. You should then pay the gas station $20.00 each week for the next two weeks. Then you have given and received fair value.

We are called to live Christ-like lives. I can't imagine Jesus hassling the gas station attendant over her mistake.

Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Love, for the Day is Near. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Rom 13:7-10)


I would welcome any thoughts as well.

Take Care